Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 14:07 UK

Tate worker in compensation claim

Tate Modern
Ms Andrews started work at Tate Modern in 2007

A gallery worker has launched a legal battle against the Tate, claiming the cold temperatures inside Tate Modern exacerbated her medical condition.

Elizabeth Andrews, who has Crohn's disease, claims managers failed to take her disability into account when she was moved there from Tate Britain.

The move followed an alleged dispute with a colleague, an employment tribunal hearing was told.

Ms Andrews, from Kent, is seeking compensation from Tate.

She claims the move from Tate Britain, to Tate Modern, had a detrimental effect on her Crohn's disease - a condition that causes inflammation in the gut, which can lead to digestive problems, back pain and tiredness.


The hearing was told Ms Andrews began working as a gallery assistant at Tate Britain in central London, in August 2003. She was promoted to gallery supervisor the following year.

The Tate agreed to reduce Ms Andrews' hours to four days a week from the beginning of 2007, to help manage her condition and provide a special chair to help with back pain.

But she was subsequently asked to move to Tate Modern following an alleged dispute with a colleague.

Ms Andrews said she was "desperately unhappy" about the move, fearing it would have a detrimental effect on her disability.

She said: "I moved to the Tate Modern on 1 November 2007, and it became clear that it was not suitable for me.

"It was a much bigger and colder building than the Tate Britain. The air conditioning from the CCTV room where I worked from time to time made my back condition worse. Further covering gallery assistants' absences has further exacerbated my condition."

Ms Andrews said she was "surprised" an occupational health report had not been obtained prior to her move, but added she suspected it would have recommended she remained at Tate Britain on health grounds.

'Unfairly treated'

She was signed off sick in December 2007 and submitted a written grievance.

Ms Andrews said she "desperately" wanted to return to Tate Britain, adding: "I felt I had been unfairly treated and it made my condition worse."

An internal hearing found in Ms Andrews' favour, saying her medical condition had not been properly considered during the process of the move, and she returned to Tate Britain in March this year.

Cross-examining Ms Andrews, Richard Hignett, barrister for Tate Gallery, asked Ms Andrews why she had not raised concerns over the transfer's impact on her health during her induction meetings at Tate Modern in October 2007.

Mr Hignett asked if it was correct that Ms Andrews "just wanted to go back to Tate Britain" and was "not interested in solutions".

The hearing continues.

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